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February 18th 2009
Published: March 2nd 2009
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This was our last port of call in the state of Karnataka and after six hours on local bus, we pulled into a dusty, dilapidated market town. After trudging around a few dingy hotels, we finally got a clean but very basic room. Finding somewhere decent for a meal, however, proved to be an even tougher challenge. At the start of our trip in India, we would have eaten in hotel restaurants exclusively but over the last few weeks we had discovered really clean cafés where the food was amazing value, a south Indian breakfast of puri and coffee cost about 50 cent each. But cleanliness didn't appear high on the agenda in Bijapur, something that would come back to haunt us with a vengeance in the days ahead!! Whilst in Bijapur we first headed to see the Upli Buruj, a 24m high watchtower where there was a couple of cannons and good views. A short walk took us to the Malik-e-Maidan to see a huge cannon over 4m long and 1.5m in diameter. Legend has it that the gunners would jump into the moat after lighting the fuse rather than be deafened. We went then to the Ibrahim Rouza, an Islamic monument which was very elegant and detailed. This was a lovely tranquil spot until a school tour group arrived and we became the subjects of much curiosity. Bijapur seems to off the main tourist trail, we met very few other travellers here, which probably accounts for the limited sleeping and eating options. Our final sight seeing stop was the Golgumbaz with its famous “whispering gallery”. Before we even entered this huge monument, all the shouting inside made it sound like a swimming pool full of kids. The building is capped by the largest dome in the world after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. After climbing up seven storeys you come onto the gallery and can walk around the dome. Instead of testing the acoustics by whispering, the huge crowds of locals were all roaring, whistling and whooping as loud and as often as they could. The sound was so deafening - I was wishing for a moat nearby to jump into! Having seen the best that Bijapur had to offer we decided to head on to Aurangabad the next morning.


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